C O N F I D E N T I A L VILNIUS 000194
E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/07/2019
TAGS: MOPS PREL MARR NATO AF LH
SUBJECT: LITHUANIA STRAINING TO INCREASE CONTRIBUTIONS TO
REF: A. STATE 31102
Â¶B. VILNIUS 172
Â¶C. VILNIUS 188
Classified By: Ambassador John A. Cloud, for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).
Â¶1. (C) Summary: Lithuania is committed to Afghanistan, but
its difficult financial situation will make additional
contributions challenging. DCM met April 6 with MFA Under
Secretary Asta Skaisgiryte-Liauskiene to present ref A
requests for specific contributions to Afghanistan. She
promised to look more closely at our list, but was able to
provide initial reactions. At the same time, she requested
U.S. assistance in identifying donor nations to support
civilian projects at the Lithuanian PRT, now that Lithuanian
funding has had to be slashed (ref B). End summary.
Â¶2. (C) Skaisgiryte-Liauskiene told DCM that Lithuania is
already in the process of increasing its SOF troops in the
south. She also gave her opinion that committing to
leadership of the Ghor province PRT beyond 2010 would be "no
problem," echoing the Defense Minister's comments to the
Ambassador several days earlier that Lithuania would stay in
Afghanistan as long as NATO does (ref C).
Skaisgiryte-Liauskiene added that on the issue of providing a
police mentor team, the GOL is still looking into it. The
mission would require more than your average policeman, she
said, because of training and language requirements. She
could not say at this point whether or not Lithuania will be
able to meet this request.
Â¶3. (C) Responding to the request for increasing support to
civilian programs, Skaisgiryte-Liauskiene agreed that the GOL
would like to do more, but said it needed U.S. help to do so.
The recent cuts in Lithuania's budget have meant that the
GOL's foreign aid allotment, never adequate for large-scale
projects, is even smaller now. Skaisgiryte-Liauskiene said
that for projects such as the Herat-Kabul road, the repaving
of the airstrip in Chagcharan, and a hospital project,
Lithuanian approaches to donors have so far come up short.
Talks are ongoing with the Japanese and Kazakhs, but
reactions from South Korea and the Gulf states have been
"lukewarm." Skaisgiryte-Liauskiene will travel to Oman at
the end of April for the EU-GCC Ministerial, and is seeking
bilaterals on the margins with the Gulf states to follow up.
Her impression, though, is that the Gulf states "are not as
interested in Afghanistan as we thought." She requested U.S.
help in identifying potential new donors.
Â¶4. (C) The other challenge, Skaisgiryte-Liauskiene said, is
that officials in Kabul don't view Ghor as a priority.
Potential donors will tell the GOL that they will make
donations, but that it is up to Kabul to determine which
projects are funded. She asked for our help in convincing
President Karzai to prioritize projects for Ghor.